On January 13th, VDOT held a scoping meeting for the planned construction of Mosby Boulevard. The meeting, held in Staunton, was attended by representatives from VDOT, the town, and the school board, via teleconference from the Luray VDOT office. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the design of the proposed Mosby extension and the projected costs for construction. In October of 2009, a pre-scoping meeting resulted in a design with a preferred intersection as a round-about, a 3 lane extension of Mosby with curbs & gutters, as well as right and left hand turn lanes into the school’s entrance. This design generated a preliminary cost estimate in excess of $4 million.
Since that time the federal government has slashed highway funds resulting in a loss of $1,112,000 towards the project. Consequently, full funding for the preferred build-out is no longer available. Current funds available for the project are now at $2,794,000. VDOT Project Manager, Michael Fulcher, has made it clear there will be no future allocations (state or federal) and the funding situation dramatically affects the design of Mosby, which will necessitate a reduction in the scope of the project.
VDOT’s strategy to keep the project on track involves a scaled back alternative to the preferred design. This alternative Mosby build-out consists of two lanes instead of three, no curb and gutter, and dirt shoulders. The cost of this design was estimated at $3,231,447. Since this still exceeds available funds, VDOT has suggested building a portion of the scaled back project leaving about 1,000 feet unfinished. The cost of this partial build out is estimated at $2,787,339 which would put it within the available budget. The remaining unfinished portion would be left until additional funds could be allocated. The impact a partial build out will have on traffic remains to be seen.
Town Manager Keith Dalton was optimistic saying, “The scoping meeting went well.” His assessment of the new reality for Mosby is, “The pared back version works well for many reasons: it is believed that the two lane street section would serve to calm traffic and the nature of the use and size of the parcel to the south and east of the street (large 40+ acre) parcel lends itself to a ditch line section.”
Many residents remain concerned the road will have a severe impact on the neighborhood. Battlefield Estates Civic Association Member, Sharon Strickland comments, “I want our new high school built, and I do realize that Mosby could be built scaled down, but the road does not have to go through to Main Street. Stop it at the gate to the proposed parking lot. Keep unneeded traffic out of our quiet streets.”
The next step in the process according to VDOT will be a CIM (Citizens Informational Meeting) scheduled for sometime in August of 2010. At that time the design should be 20-25% completed.